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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — It wasn't as if the Jefferson J-Hawks needed further validation. But they went out and seized it anyway.
They're the best volleyball team in the Metro. Undisputed. For now, anyway.
Class 5A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Jefferson took a giant step toward its first Mississippi Valley Conference regular-season title in 20 years, sweeping aside No. 4 Linn-Mar, 25-21, 25-22, 25-11, in a Mississippi Division battle Tuesday night at Jefferson High School.
Maggie Peters allowed herself a moment to glance into the stands. That in itself was a testament to how far this program has come.
'It's crazy,' she said. 'I've never seen the gym this full. It's awesome. This team, this year ... we're bringing J-Hawk volleyball to a new level.'
Jefferson (16-1 overall, 3-0 division) has full control of the divisional race. If the J-Hawks can finish the deal, it will be their first MVC crown since winning three straight divisional titles from 1995 through 1997.
'They're good, really good,' said Linn-Mar Coach Teresa Bair, a 1979 Jefferson alum. 'Our execution was very poor. We were out of system a lot, but they forced a lot of that.
'They were the better team, period, all the way across the board.'
Linn-Mar (17-4, 3-1) had an opportunity to square the match in Game 2, getting out to a 14-7 lead. But Jefferson raced back.
'We knew we were still in it,' Maddie Slagle said. 'We had to give everything we had.'
Added Kaylee Donner: 'We were rattled there a little bit. We needed to stay focused and get out of that rotation.'
A kill by Meghan Prohaska got the J-Hawks even at 16-16, then Sydney Kloubec's ace gave them their first lead of the set.
Peters' kill broke a 22-all tie, and after a Linn-Mar attack error, Lindsey Culver closed out the set with a kill from the right side.
From there on out, it was clear sailing. Jefferson scored eight straight points for a 9-2 advantage in Game 3. At 12-3, the Jefferson student section chanted, 'It's too easy,' and Linn-Mar never threatened.
Peters led all hitters with 10 kills as Jefferson posted a 39-29 kill advantage. Culver, who swings a big bat in softball, added eight kills and three blocks. Maddy Baxter posted 32 assists.
Anna Gorsich and Carly Spies collected six kills apiece for Linn-Mar. Megan Renner had 21 assists.
CEDAR RAPIDS JEFFERSON 3, LINN-MAR 0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-11)
At C.R. Jefferson
Serving — Linn-Mar 48-56 (.857), Jefferson 63-72 (.875)
Aces — Linn-Mar 4 (Tori Niemeyer 3), Jefferson 7 (Maddy Baxter, Raya George 2)
Kills — Linn-Mar 29 (Anna Gorsich, Carly Spies 6), Jefferson 39 (Maggie Peters 10)
Assists — Linn-Mar 27 (Megan Renner 21), Jefferson 35 (Baxter 32)
Blocks — Linn-Mar 3 (Gorsich 2), Jefferson 6 (Lindsey Culver 3)
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